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Paul Keres vs Efim Geller
Training Match Tournament (1952), USSR
King's Indian Defense: Normal Variation (E70)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-05-05  coucoucou: Incredible at this level. Is there any transcription problem?
Dec-15-05  aw1988: Score is correct.
Mar-23-08  xrt999: CM has this game listed as being played in September of 1956.

I think 5...c5 is not consistent with this opening, laying the foundation for all of Geller's problems, and 5...d6 would be more appropriate (keeping the game closed in lieu of Keres' control of the center).

Mar-23-08  slapwa: 5. ... c5 is OK, but black should play on the centre files, if necessary, by giving up the pawn. 7. ..., Nc6 and 8. ... , d6 would nowadays be more thematic.
Mar-25-08  xrt999: Theoretically, the only real move I can find in response to 5.f4 is 5...d6. Ironically, in the only other Geller game played with this opening he played 5...d6 Wade vs Geller, 1963

Usually in the KI one would play 4...d6 and play would progress from there. After 5.f4 (KI, 4 pawns) the usual play is 5...0-0 6.Nf3 and then 6...c5, a transposed move order as seen in the Geller-Wade game. For example, Bisguier vs Fischer, 1956

The only other games in a search of 5...c5 yields some pretty ugly games, in favor of white as I predicted. The only real games of note for black are 2 games in which white does NOT play 6.e5

Fedorowicz vs B Ivanovic, 1979 for example, black manages a draw

Mar-26-08  slapwa: Have a look at Letelier-Fischer, Leipzig 1960. That's why white stopped playing e5.
Mar-26-08  MichAdams: May we have an answer on whether this or the 1956 version is correct?
Mar-26-08  mistreaver: Rb8 ???
Mar-28-08  xrt999: In the Wade-Geller and the Bisguier-Fischer games, black plays d6 in both instances to ostensibly prevent e5 by white. I think 6.e5 leads to advantages for white; Fischer, the amazing tactician that he was managed to win with black after 6.e5.

I dont think Fischer's win necessarily means that white never played 6.e5 thereafter, or that 6.e5 was refuted after 1960. In the Wade-Geller game for example, Geller is not inviting 6.e5, in fact he plays 5...d6 to prevent 6.e5, and the game was played in 1963.

According to your point, Geller should have drawn white in by inviting 6.e5 if it meant winning lines for black.

Which brings us full circle to the game at hand! In the above game Geller plays 5...c5, white plays 6.e5, and Keres <CRUSHES> poor Dr. Geller!

Mar-28-08  slapwa: Indeed Geller played 5. ..., c5 and lost. But he did not lose, as you say, because he played c5. He lost because he played 7. ..., Qa5. My point is simply that it doesn’t matter in what order he plays c5 and d6. In the game 7. …, Nc6 and 8. …, d6 will transpose into Letelier vs Fischer, 1960 or be very similar.

The tactics at the end of Letelier-Fischer are cute, but its real significance (it was hugely influential at the time and it appears in M60MG), is not only to show the right strategy for Black in these sorts of positions (ie dismantle the centre rather than play around it) but to generate a shift in what was judged to be a strong and what an over-extended centre. There were some other games around the same time to the same affect: Barden Hartston Keene on the KID (2nd ed page 1973 243-4) give Boznipa-Stein, Harkov 1959 and Elkon-Vaskan Riga 1960 but I don’t have them to hand – does anyone?)

Of course I wasn't entirely serious when I said white never subsequently played 6.e5. Better the line lost popularity.

Whether black plays 4 … 0-0 or d6 (after 1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4) is sometimes a bit more subtle than being about preventing e5 by White. If white tries for a Samisch by answering 4. …., 0-0 with 5. f3, then 5. …, c5 is a good option.

Mar-29-08  xrt999: <In the game 7. …, Nc6 and 8. …, d6 will transpose into Letelier vs Fischer, 1960 or be very similar.>

Yes, they would be identical. I had to set up both games, then play the Geller game with different moves to see it, but you are right, the Geller game could transpose into the Fischer game. Thanks for pointing that out.

Also, I believe that you are more correct; 7...Qa5 is more of a losing move than 5...c5, since 5...c5 does not in and of itself lead to the loss, and with proper play, black can salvage the position (as long as you are Bobby Fischer in 1960). Since 7...Qa5 is not possible, though, without 5...c5, I will say instead that Geller misplayed the opening. I originally thought that 5...c5 is not consistent with this opening (which I still think) but more correct is that 7...Qa5 is not consistent with 5...c5: "the blunder of a bad opening"

I still feel that since the KI is primarily a 4...d6 system, 5...c5 is not a wise choice in the KI system, 5...d6 is a better choice, and has been outplayed 622 to 12 in the database in the above position at black's move 5. (KI with f4). (The KI with f4, for that matter, is not the main line for white, either.)

I still feel 6.e5 is good for white and would play 6.e5 whenever given the <choice>, again, assuming that black gives me the choice by not playing 4...d6 or 5...d6. In other words, in the above position, I would intend to play 6.e5 in a heartbeat as white.

Fischer unhinged Letelier's play masterfully, but to me, this still does not mean that black has anything but big problems after 6.e5. I would never play a move like 5...c5 as black, and expect anything less than 6.e5, then think that I could extricate myself from it as Fischer did.

May-22-10  jerseybob: Let me mention another game with this same type of situation, a Pirc, not a King's Indian, but similar. Quinones-Smyslov, 1964 Interzonal went: 1.e4,d6 2.d4,Nf6 3.Nc3,g6 4.f4,Bg7 5.Nf3,00 6.Bd3,Nbd7 7.e5,Ne8! 8.Qe2,c5! and in a few moves white's center had totally disappeared. A fine game by Smyslov.
Aug-01-10  birthtimes: At the time of this game, it appears that Geller's record against Keres was +0-3=1! So it seems as though Geller was a bit snake bitten by the time this game was played...
Jun-26-16  rodantero: 7...Qa5 was only slightly bad, but after 8...Qxc5 black was lost. 13...Rb8 was the best move (in a lost position) because 13.a4! prepaired 14.Bb6, so black had to do something to save his queen.

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